Everything Everything is undoubtedly one of my favourite books to date. Not only is the story compelling and unique but it is one of the few books that features a girl of colour as the protagonist. Read on to discover a few facts about the ground-breaking authoress who unintentionally wrote TWO New York Bestsellers and why I feel we need more people in the world like her.
Nicola Yoon experienced two very different worlds growing up. She was partially raised in Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York. Her choice of university major was far from her current occupation. Nicola studied electrical engineering as an undergrad student and stumbled across her love for writing while taking a creative writing class. With her electrical engineering degree in the bag, she enrolled in a creative writing programme at Emerson College.
Yoon's passion for writing was not known to the greater world for about twenty years as she worked at investment management firms as a programmer. That's right, Nicola's debut book only went to publish after twenty years of working at her day job and that debut book was Everything Everything. It took her three years to complete writing the book.
If you have read the book, you'll know that it is dedicated to her husband, David and her daughter, Penny. This tells the reader that she is very close to her family and she incorporates this closeness in the making of the novel. Nicola's Korean-American husband illustrated all those adorable drawings in the book and her biracial daughter is the inspiration behind the story. Talk about a family affair.
If you have not read Everything Everything, it is about an 18 year old girl who suffers with a chronic disease that prohibits her from leaving her house or coming into contact with anything that has not been appropriately sanitised. The disease the protagonist, Madeline Whittier, has is called SCID (otherwise known as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). Albeit, her entire routine-based world is turned upside down when a new family moves next door and she befriends the son, Olly. The novel follows the coming-of-age story of Maddy as she breaks free emotionally, mentally and physically.
Everthing Everything reached the coveted spot of number ONE on the New York Times Bestseller List for young adult hardcover books in September 2015 and it stayed on the list for, get this, FORTY WEEKS. The book was inevitably turned into a movie which released in May last year.
Nicola released her second book, The Sun Is Also A Star, in November 2016 and it was no surprise that it too reached number one on the New York Times Bestseller List. The book received many rave reviews and awards. In December 2016, it was made public that MGM and Warner Brothers acquired rights to the film adaptation of the novel.
Mrs Yoon is a shining example of a woman many want to be like. She is intelligent. She is talented. She is phenomenal. Everything Everything was written while Nicola worked full-time as a programmer and had to care for Penny, her daughter, as an infant. I mean, the lady is a powerhouse! Nicola stays true to her reality and experiences which I feel is what really resonates with her readers. Especially as someone who loves writing, I feel that it’s so important to remain authentic to your own story and to portray it as honestly as possible because those are the stories that impact people around us the most.
Sources: Wikipedia; Nicola Yoon website